How does a tire maker/tire importer/private brander make its tires stand out in the crowded Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4 fields?
How do tire companies get vehicle owners to remember their products when it comes time to replace the donuts on their vehicles?
How does any tire brand/tire line, for that matter, stand out from the 400+ brands sold in the U.S. and Canada?
These are questions that vex tire companies constantly as they try and grow their tire lines in the North America tire market, especially today as price compression and increased competition in the segments below Tier 1 make it harder for companies to grab sales and maintain acceptable margins.
Throw in the fact that the U.S. replacement passenger and light truck tire markets have remained generally flat in recent years, and you can see the challenge all tire companies and tire marketers face.
That's why we like the approach Tire Group International L.L.C. (TGI) is taking as it enters the U.S. market with a broadened lineup of Cosmo-branded tires.
Instead of giving the new tires numerical identifications or nondescript, hard-to-remember model names, it has purposely chosen flamboyant monikers for the new UHP, SUV, SUV-UHP and M/T treads. Think about how easy it will be to remember names like Sexy Beast, Kitty Kat, Chubby Nubby and El Jefe.
These are names so memorable you might talk about them at a cocktail party or bring up in conversation with friends, because they are funny, descriptive, catchy.
TGI said it decided to go this route in naming its new tires after conducting market research that showed consumers are more apt to remember a brand if they connect with it on a personal level. This is no doubt the same reason why the Michelin baby ad campaigns of the past resonated so well with consumers. Who can resist a cute baby sitting in a tire? You don't forget that.
The Goodyear Aquatred from years ago also resonated with consumers, who could easily remember the name and also visualize the water evacuation capabilities of the tire.
"We want to make the tire-buying experience memorable and fun for the consumer and our marketing will continually reinforce that," TGI President Joaquin Gonzalez, said.
That's a smart move in a replacement tire market filled with hundreds of quality brands.
One way to stand out is to give tires names customers are likely to remember.